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Why Vista Release Date Really Slipped

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the better-excuses dept.

562

anzev writes "A team manager for Windows for 5 years has decided to write a blog-essay about what caused Windows Vista project to miss the due date. Philip tells us in the blog, that Windows developers are writing an average of 5000 lines of code (which is *only* 1200 lines less than the national average of 6200 lines of code per year). He addresses issues like the Vista code being too complicated, the processes the developers have to follow too complex and a lot more. All in all it gives a nice insight into why Vista will be late, from a different perspective. Oh, and Slashdot gets mentioned too ;-)."

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SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (4, Interesting)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538748)

From TFA:
We shouldn't forget despite all this that Windows Vista remains the largest concerted software project in human history.
David Wheeler, for instance, calculated that Redhat 7.1 contained 30,152,114 [dwheeler.com] physical source lines of code (SLOC), a 60% increase over 6.2 (and that was in 2001).

Linear extrapolation would take us to about eighty-two-million today, comfortably over Vista's projected fifty-million; but who's counting?

Re:SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (1)

Too many errors, bai (815931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538785)

You can linearly extrapolate software development?

Re:SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (3, Insightful)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538790)

You can linearly extrapolate software development?
No: it's as silly as SLOC being a measure of software's quality.

Re:SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538975)

Noone was using SLOC for quality - they were using SLOC for size.

Re:SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (3, Funny)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538791)

According to this data [tripod.com] , those figures put Vista somewhere above Piccolo after merging with Kami, with Red Hat at the level of Super Saiyan Vegeta (after time chamber). In the words of the late great Leonard Nimoy, fascinating.

Also, what bracketing convention does each of those use? Are Red Hat artificially inflating their count with 15,000,000 lines consisting of

{
and another 15,000,000 consisting of
// loop starts here
?

Re:SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538796)

I think you're completely discounting the original usage of the word "concerted."

Debian isn't a concerted effort by any stretch of the imagination. It consists of thousands of modules that really exist independently of one another; the vast majority of them were not even written specifically for Debian at all, but rather for Linux in the general sense. They were simply included in the package. I'd go so far as to guess that some of them made it in "by proximity" -- they were in the same directory as something useful, and someone came along and did a 'cp coolutility/* /distro/coolutility/*'.

Now, if the Debian project managers were told to write specs for all n-thousand of these modules, and then told "deliver these modules so we can have the next 'eager beaver' release," then you'd be looking at a concerted effort.

Re:SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (1)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538822)

I think you're completely discounting the original usage of the word "concerted."
Interesting; "concerted software-development" looks pleonastic to me. There's a trivial sense in which all software-development is concerted; why not come out and say, "in-house?"

Re:SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (1, Flamebait)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538917)

Of course at that level it's all shades of grey anyway.

But where else do you draw the lines? Any open-source project can drag in millions of lines of code by reference, authored by thousands of people, some of whom are unknown (and possibly some of which may have been plagiarized or be in some other violation of Intellectual Property rights.) But Microsoft really has to account for the provenance of each line of code -- either they have to show who authored it in-house, or they have to come up with a receipt for the purchase of the rights to that code.

At least they do if they want to keep battling Linux over IP issues. The one thing they can't do is draw code from the GPL world, anyway, which leaves them only two other options -- buy it or write it.

Re:SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (2, Funny)

cow-orker (311831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538865)

So the difference is that Debian is nicely modular while Vista is impenetrable spaghetti code.

Figured as much.

Re:SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (1)

Quinn (4474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538831)

How many of those thirty million lines were written as a concerted effort of Redhat?

Re:SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (3, Insightful)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538844)

It also depends on how you draw the line on what's a single software product.

Vista Ultimate is going to have tons more code than Vista Basic simply because of all the extra bundled apps. Linux is another good example--Red Hat includes the GNU tools and assorted applications, Ubuntu's base distro fits on a single CD, whereas Debian and SUSE's official distros provide everything but the kitchen sink and probably contain an order of magnitude more code as a result.

Re:SLOC: Vista vs. Linux (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538930)

Anyone know how many LOC are in the space shuttle's software? I remember reading that it was an absurd amount but the figure escapes me.

Give Vista Developers A Break (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538749)

This isn't some critical release patch.

This isn't some driver that's long overdue.

Microsoft never hand signed a sheet of paper telling me that I would have my copy of "Longhorn" by the end of 2005 or even 2006.

It's a new operating system. More importantly, it's an operating system that has to compete with OSX, Linux, Unix & Windows XP. That's right, they are going to have to figure out someway to improve Windows XP. They aren't stuffing Madden 2005 into Madden 2006 and I hope they are taking their sweet ass time to rework some of the Windows internals that may have been a long time plague on the OS.

My point is that they're making something new and probably forging new ground. According to this article, they suffered the same thing a lot of projects have suffered. You project management plan looks great in Microsoft Project. Then you print it out and re-wallpaper the offices only to have the developers sift through it and go, "What the fsck?"

If Vista is as complicated as its specs say it is, I hope Microsoft takes another two years to get this done because I don't want to have to put up with Vista SP1, Vista SP2, Vista SP3, etc. down the line. I think games like WoW took a lot of time to make but it paid off to be a really stable engine with great features that blew everyone away. Microsoft could learn from that. You might upset some fans and you might piss your boss off but misinformation/miscommunication in the early stages of a project only lead to its downfall. If you can voice concern/dissent to your boss, I suggest you get a new job. We're human beings, we are fallible and we do have limits. Even if we're hand selected by Microsoft's HR department.

I'm reminded of a story about Hitler where the Allies had broken through French beaches at Normandy (unexpectedly) and Hitler's aides were at his house trying to figure out how they could wake Hitler up and inform him of the brigade of tanks rushing across the countryside towards them. Because they all feared for their lives, no one ended up waking him up and they lost a whole lot of ground & a few resources because of it. If you run your company through fear and people can't talk back to you, you'll end up like Hitler. Dead in a ditch with petrol all over you.

I'm also getting really sick and tired of people measuring a project's greatness by KLOC. It's also very frustrating to hear people brag about how many KLOC they write each year. That's great--now how do I know it's not riddled with bugs or a complete memory hog? What ever happened to the desire for elegant computer code? When I see a program that does something quickly and elegantly, my brain releases the same chemical that I used to get when I saw beautiful math proofs. I know this is the mark of the nerd but there's something very satisfying about it.

One last note, this MSDN blogging site does not care for Firefox. The right hand side of the text hangs over about an inch into the right bar side and it's annoying because the text spills onto the calendar. I certainly hope this doesn't happen on purpose.

If you can't voice concern... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538773)

If you can voice concern/dissent to your boss, I suggest you get a new job.
That's supposed to read "if you can't voice concern...". My apologies.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538811)

You project management plan looks great in Microsoft Project. Then you print it out and re-wallpaper the offices only to have the developers sift through it and go, "What the fsck?"

Actually, Windows developers go "What the CHKDSK.EXE?"

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538812)

Microsoft never hand signed a sheet of paper telling me that I would have my copy of "Longhorn" by the end of 2005 or even 2006.


Tell that to all of the Software Assurance customers whose deal ends in December of '06.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (3, Informative)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538939)

Tell that to all of the Software Assurance customers whose deal ends in December of '06.

Microsoft doesn't guarantee updates every two years (or whatever your term length is). They just guarantee that you get any updates that occur during the term of your agreement.

Also, it'll be available to volume license customers in November, which you should already know.

Tard.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (1, Troll)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538816)

Microsoft never hand signed a sheet of paper telling me that I would have my copy of "Longhorn" by the end of 2005 or even 2006.

Yeah, but they did sell a bunch of subscription licenses, and screwed over any clients that had the expectation of getting a new version of Windows within that time frame!

If Vista is as complicated as its specs say it is, I hope Microsoft takes another two years to get this done because I don't want to have to put up with Vista SP1, Vista SP2, Vista SP3, etc. down the line. I think games like WoW took a lot of time to make but it paid off to be a really stable engine with great features that blew everyone away.

Microsoft already took "another two years" to get it done. If they take much more it'll be just like Duke Nukem Forever (not that I have a problem with that -- the more it delays, the easier it'll be for Mac OS and Linux to eat its lunch).

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538885)

Yeah, but they did sell a bunch of subscription licenses, and screwed over any clients that had the expectation of getting a new version of Windows within that time frame!

I don't think this can be stated enough times. People that bought into the Software Assurance license are the ones that will be screwed. Many of us had expected Vista to be a "free" upgrade under the terms of the license, but with Microsoft continually pushing back the release date it'll eventually fall beyond the date of our terms and require us to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to upgrade to it. I don't even think we wanted the Software Assurance in the first place, but I believe that was the only way they'd sell us the licenses for our company.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538899)

"Yeah, but they did sell a bunch of subscription licenses, and screwed over any clients that had the expectation of getting a new version of Windows within that time frame!"

Sorry to have to say this, but more fool them. Yes, the sales rep probably hinted that Vista *might* be out and if so they'd get the upgrade free, but damn, people... You'd think by now that most folk would be acutely aware of these little money grabbing extras on top of normal product sales. Take extended warranty for example - read the small fine print and very little is actually covered, if at all (bad analogy in practice, yes, but similar principle on a very high level). One would also imagine that the corporate IT buyers should at least have looked at Bill Gates' position in the rich list and thought to themselves "well, gee, he hasn't got all the way up there by giving away new copies of operating systems to his corporate clients..."

It's always the same when people think that by paying a tiny bit extra they'll get lots more free; 99/100 it just isn't the case.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538823)

It's a new operating system.

It's an upgrade to an existing operating system.

If Vista is as complicated as its specs say it is, I hope Microsoft takes another two years to get this done

Operating systems are Microsoft's core competency. You would think that by now Microsoft would know how to estimate the scope of the project required to write an upgrade for an existing operating system.

The delays, no matter how well explained, are still delays; and are continuing evidence of Microsoft's incompetence in the area of operating system development.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (2, Insightful)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538954)

Operating systems are Microsoft's core competency. You would think that by now Microsoft would know how to estimate the scope of the project required to write an upgrade for an existing operating system.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! WRONG!

From day one, ever since the deal with Seattle Computer Products, MARKETING has been Microsoft's core competency.

Microsoft has not, nor has it ever been, primarily a technology company. It has always been a marketing company.

Bill Gates has not, nor has he ever been, a techie OR a nerd - but what he is, is a brilliant marketeer

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (1)

nlago (187984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538825)

If Vista is as complicated as its specs say it is, I hope Microsoft takes another two years to get this done because I don't want to have to put up with Vista SP1, Vista SP2, Vista SP3, etc. down the line.

You're kidding, right? RIGHT?

Firstly, the project is very late, this is affecting negatively their business and their image. They cannot afford to have it any later, so they will take shortcuts.

Secondly, while the market (and MS itself!) is changing, don't forget they have made a LOT of money over 20 years by releasing buggy code and fixing it later.

In this scenario, do you actually hope for a moment they will release truly stable and secure code? Come on! They will release the least quality they have any hope that the market will tolerate, which, in the case of MS, isn't saying much...

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (1)

ddvlad (862846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538828)

That's right, they are going to have to figure out someway to improve Windows XP.
And why would that be hard? How about including a sane, native and not broken permissions system and true multi-user support for starters? Honestly, just because it is most widely used doesn't make XP the best.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538836)

Just a slight nitpick, but I'd refrain from using WoW as a beacon of stability, remember they were plagued by serious server instability and connectivity issues.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538850)

Microsoft never hand signed a sheet of paper telling me that I would have my copy of "Longhorn" by the end of 2005 or even 2006.

Why would Microsoft give you a hand signed piece of paper for any operating system release? MS Execs have publically stated that the release would be in 2006.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (1)

thc69 (98798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538851)

One last note, this MSDN blogging site does not care for Firefox. The right hand side of the text hangs over about an inch into the right bar side and it's annoying because the text spills onto the calendar. I certainly hope this doesn't happen on purpose.
Same in Opera.

Yeah, whatever. (2, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538896)

"This isn't some critical release patch. This isn't some driver that's long overdue. Microsoft never hand signed a sheet of paper telling me that I would have my copy of "Longhorn" by the end of 2005 or even 2006. It's a new operating system."

"Oooh, de poor little Vista Developers are sooo overworked. Lets give them a break."

No. Wrong. No break. And no extra auto-credit for being MS. I couldn't care less about Vista being delayed or not. But I will take every chance to turn the situation against all legends that cause people to think Computer == Windows. Usability == Doubleclick. Etc.

Reading that essay - from a Vista Guy with a position - gives of one clear message: Vista actually is a bloated weedy mess beyond any measure. And, guess what, making something new or not, the code that makes the unixes so usefull has been programmed allready and is in heavy field use for quite some time now. Somewhere between 10 and 20 years. After 30 years of unix, hardware finally is fast enough to run it on PDAs and cheap Notebooks. What x86 is to architecture - ancient, crazy, nutcase, but good enough for everything, even a Mac, Unix is to OSes - ancient, crazy, nutcase, but good enough for everything, even good enough for a Mac.
No, no break. Game over I say.
If MS has the guts to burn 10 Billion - 20 Billion on getting a new OS paradigm on to every plattform on the planet and do a good job at the same time they'll maybe make it. But even this late, jumping the OSS bandwagon and burning the cash it takes to take over the whole OSS service, distribution and customization sheebang would be cheaper and have better prospects.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (2, Interesting)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538908)

If Vista is as complicated as its specs say it is, I hope Microsoft takes another two years to get this done because I don't want to have to put up with Vista SP1, Vista SP2, Vista SP3, etc. down the line.

This is my beef with Vista. It is late and when it ships, I expect it to be buggy with many follow-on Service Packs. The reason it is late and buggy is the absurd devotion to backwards compatability. I don't understand it. I could accept software compatability, but the hardware aspect is mystifying. Microsoft could spend five more years trying to get Vista to be all things to all people, but its stupid. OS X ships every 18-24 months. Granted this is not a full up new OS, but these releases are much more significant than service packs. I am of the mind that this is possible because they make the hard decisions about what hardware and legacy support should be cut. (Although it is easier for Apple, since they build the hardware too. Perhaps the saga of Vista shows that the Apple model is inherently more technically sound.)

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538911)


I'm reminded of a story about Hitler where the Allies had broken through French beaches at Normandy


The Godwin is strong in this one.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538914)

If you can voice concern/dissent to your boss, I suggest you get a new job.

If you can't voice concern/dissent to your boss, I suggest you get a new job.

Re:Give Vista Developers A Break (4, Insightful)

bilgebag (102479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538968)

It's a new operating system.
No, no it's not. As has been pointed out, it's an upgrade. It's not even the original upgrade that was promised for 2003, and it doesn't have many of the new vapour-ware features which have been touted along the way (WinFS, Monad, Trusted Computing Base) and isn't even 'largely' rewritten to use .NET internally.

Like Windows XP to Windows 2000, this is largely a GUI re-design. KDE and Gnome knock one of those out about once every six months. Apple's releases evolve rather than revolutionise, but they tend to over-deliver on their promises.

Did you believe this 'new operating system' shtick when Windows 95 came out? 98? ME? NT3.51? NT4? W2K, XP? W2K3? It's getting old. Bill needs to learn a new mantra.

The last new (PC) operating system Microsoft released was Windows NT 3 (largely based on the work of IBM and ex-DEC employees) and it took them over 7 years to phase out the old DOS based Windows and get back to one offering which wasn't a complete piece of poo.

When are you going to stop believing the marketing?

Slashdot is to blame? (1, Troll)

daniil (775990) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538754)

Let me guess, MS employees spend too much time astroturfing on /. instead of writing code.

MOD PARENT UP!! (-1, Redundant)

Seoulstriker (748895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538915)

He already got modded as a troll by the M$ Astroturfers. STOP THE HATE!!! MOD HIM INSIGHTFUL!

This is a fight for our very Linux livelihood! BAND TOGETHER, BROTHERS!

Re:MOD PARENT UP!! (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538961)

I think the above moderation shows it's the Mac OS fanboys who rule the roost around here... ;-)

Or is it the Amiga-lovers? They're a true shadowy cabal to be terrified of!

Slashdot (3, Funny)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538763)

Admittedly, this essay would be easier written for Slashdot, where taut lines divide the world crisply into black and white. "Vista is a bloated piece of crap," my furry little penguin would opine, "written by the bumbling serfs of an evil capitalistic megalomaniac." But that'd be dead wrong. The truth is far more nuanced than that. Deeper than that. More subtle than that.

Far more nuanced. Some parts of Vista are bloated pieces of crap. Some, on the other hand, won't even ship. And still others will be incredibly efficient, presumably the important stuff like federal backdoors and DRM.

I don't see things in black and white! There are shades of grey in there too!

(I'm only kidding by the way, and in reality don't give a shit about Vista)

Re:Slashdot (4, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538884)

It's not just black & white, it's black, white and atleast seven shades of brown.

Re:Slashdot (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15539000)

The truth is far more nuanced than that. Deeper than that. More subtle than that.
Far more nuanced. Some parts of Vista are bloated pieces of crap.

Since when do you have to "nuance" truth? If it's a bloated, buggy piece of crap, it should be thrown out and redone. If it's "incredibly efficient", it should (probably) stay, and if it's in the middle, you have developers at least trying to do better.

I agree that you might not be able to say the whole shooting match is a "bloated piece of crap", but most of it sure looks like it. Tell me the few parts that are good, the chunk that's alright, and admit you screwed up the rest.

grammar (5, Funny)

Sathias (884801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538765)

Obviously the other thing that is too complex is the whole to/too/two thing ;)

Re:grammar (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538859)

This is one of the worst Slashdot summaries in a while.

"A team manager for Windows for 5 years has decided to write a blogg-essay about what caused Windows Vista project to miss the due date. Philip tells us in the blog, that Windows developers are writing on average of 5000 lines of code (which is *only* 1200 lines less than the national average of 6200 lines of code per year). He addresses issues like the Vista code being to complicated, the processes the developers have to follow to complex and a lot more. All in all it gives a nice insight into why Vista will be late, from a different perspective. Oh, and Slashdot gets mentioned too ;-)."

Entire words missing, homonym confusion, mixed-up sentences... I don't blame anzev, but this is samzenpus' job. He gets paid to fix things like this. Christ on a bike, don't you have any pride in your work whatsoever? Are you the kind of person who coasts through life content to do the bare minimum necessary to ensure you don't get fired?

Re:grammar (0)

cazzazullu (645423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538927)

Lots of people seem to have problems with that. Anyway, I'm going on my coffeebreak from a quarter to two to two to two. You have coffee breaks from a quarter to two to two to two too?

Spelling error (3, Funny)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538767)

Vista code being /too/ complicated...

The Short Version. (0, Offtopic)

biggyfred (754376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538771)

Microsoft is screwed up.

Your frogot too put ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538798)

lineucks is teh only OS my boxen will be running....:LOL micro$haft .. I Stab at thee from my parent's basement!!!! LOL!!
LOL FREE KOAD ROX!!!!

PROGNAME=$(basename $0)
VERSION="2.1.0"
SCRIPTSHELL=${SHELL}
DEFAULT_SCRIPT_NAME=untitled_script
if [ -d ~/tmp ]; then
        TEMP_DIR=~/tmp
else
        TEMP_DIR=/tmp
fi
TEMP_FILE=$(mktemp -q "${TEMP_DIR}/${PROGNAME}.$$.XXXXXX")

# Make some pretty date strings
DATE=$(date +'%m/%d/%Y')
YEAR=$(date +'%Y')

# Get user's real name from passwd file
AUTHOR=$(awk -v USER=$USER 'BEGIN { FS = ":" } $1 == USER { print $5 }' "

# Bring forth a few global variables
purpose="(describe purpose of script)"
root_user=
root_check=
security_considerations=

Re:The Short Version. (1)

killeena (794394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538956)

As are most companies of that size. I am conviced that a company can only get so big before it hits critical mass. Too many high level execs that make decisions and promises that they don't understand are bound to cause a lot of problems for everyone.

Re:The Short Version. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538991)

Please mod parent up!

Me To (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538774)

And some people STILL haven't figured out that there's a difference between "to" and "too".

The real reason Vista slipped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538781)

It's cause there were to many typos in the spec

Dependencies (2, Funny)

yobjob (942868) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538792)

Windows code is too complicated. It's not the components themselves, it's their interdependencies. An architectural diagram of Windows would suggest there are more than 50 dependency layers (never mind that there also exist circular dependencies). After working in Windows for five years, you understand only, say, two of them.

Duke Nukem Forever and?

Lines of Code? (5, Insightful)

bmongar (230600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538793)

Wow, who uses lines of code as a metric. It's an aweful metric to use. I have seen many bad coders produce a lot of code. Lines of code as a metric encourages cut and paste reuse instead of abstraction of common ideas and functions.

Re:Lines of Code? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538819)

It's an aweful metric to use

For bug fixes I find the measure of lines removed to be of some use. If they want to convey meaning they could quote a figure on the number of requirements implemented and validated to date or per unit effort or something. That at least has a better chance of giving a measure of progress.

Re:Lines of Code? (2, Funny)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538820)

Agreed. Hell, one could fit Vista on one line if you want, just make it a really long one. :P

Re:Lines of Code? (1)

Cheeze (12756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538870)

I'd rather one perfect line of code, and 4999 lines of comments explaining what the line of code does and why it is perfect.

Re:Lines of Code? (1)

Shadow Of The Sun (951477) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538925)

int main() { printf("Hello World."); return 0;}

I'll... um... do the comments later.

Re:Lines of Code? (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538992)

SLOC/day isn't a horrible metric if you tightly specify it to be lines of completed, tested and controlled code per day. While it's not a really good metric either no one has really come up with a better figure to measure "productivity". However, the estimated KSLOC should NEVER be used to estimate the project duration or number of resources needed. Bugs/KSLOC (i.e. error density) is a decent metric for code quality, so knowing the number of lines of code does have some usefulness. Last time I looked about 30-40 solid lines of code per day (using my definition of COMPLETE code) was about average, some good programmers could hit 50. That number is way below MS number, so they must be counting pure lines written even if they later got removed/changed to fix a bug.

Re:Lines of Code? (3, Insightful)

martinmarv (920771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538997)

Agreed. If I type

If CorrectPassword(input) Then
      allowlogin = True
Else
      allowlogin = False
Endif

am I five times better than

allowlogin = CorrectPassword(input)
?

Vista code being to complicated... (3, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538795)

...as bear is to taking a crap in the woods?

...as Pope is to being Catholic?

Interesting write-up (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538797)

I found the style of writing, and its substance quite interesting to read. Apart from the annoying bolded phrases, it was a delightful insight into what might have caused such a slip.

Intriguing though, to think what Microsoft feel and indeed what they might do when they find such releases.
 
Truth-intolerance indeed.

Pointy-Haired Boss Line Counting (1, Insightful)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538801)

(which is *only* 1200 lines less than the national average of 6200 lines of code per year).

Yeah, so? You have no idea if that 5000 lines of code is faster, more efficent and easier to modify than that 6200 lines of code. Don't you remember the Apple story? Stupid ignorant nubs.

Source for averages? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538928)

I thought the number of finished lines of code per developer-day (that means debugged, documented, etc.) was only 20 for an average developer? A top developer will get closer to 10x that (mainly because when they write a lot of code in a day, they don't introduce lots of silly bugs that take a lot of time to correct later). Some developers actually have negative productivity overall (which makes sense when you consider the time spent by their colleagues to fix their bugs afterwards).

I can't remember where I saw those stats: probably something like Code Complete or The Mythical Man Month, I imagine, or possibly the IBM study into developer productivity at different ages (the one that says anyone under 25 is only good for documentation, and anyone 25-30 should only work on one project at once). Does anyone recognise the number?

I can't see any references in the blog post. Where do the figures of 6,200 (and the earlier 9,000) LOC/year come from?

Slashdot reference (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538809)

> "Vista is a bloated piece of crap," my furry little penguin would opine, "written by the bumbling
> serfs of an evil capitalistic megalomaniac." But that'd be dead wrong. The truth is far more
> nuanced than that. Deeper than that. More subtle than that.

What, it won't be bloated, or it won't be crap? Would the people claiming it's neither contend that XP also isn't?

Re:Slashdot reference (1)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538847)

I think he means the truth would be a statement more along the lines of "Vista is a hyperinflated conglomeration of foecal matter, stuffed almost beyond measure with gratuitous CPU-eating GUI tricks, inefficiencies a magnitude of order higher than anything else we've ever delivered, and Hollywood-sponsored media restrictions to give it that 'just-squatted' smell."

At least that's more nuanced and deeper, but maybe just a touch less subtle.

Twas ever thus (2, Insightful)

sane? (179855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538814)

Managers blame the workers
Workers blame the managers

The way this blog is written makes it obvious why its late, and why it probably won't hit the needs of the users. All the effort goes into playing the bureaucracy game and between the 'them' and 'us' everything important gets lost.

Personally I believe its a failing of the MBA courses, etc. The idea that 'A' controls 'B', rather than they work together as a team is prevalent and its fundamentally incompatible with good projects. By default I tend to look questioningly at those who claim to be able to manage because 'they've done the course'. Too often they forget they are costs to the programme and have to offer real, obvious, value to be worth having.

We need project management, version 2.01

Summary == Wrong (3, Informative)

ahsile (187881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538815)

The article says the monkeys in Redmond only write 1000 lines of code a year:


Vista is said to have over 50 million lines of code, whereas XP was said to have around 40 million. There are about two thousand software developers in Windows today. Assuming there are 5 years between when XP shipped and when Vista ships, those quick on the draw with calculators will discover that, on average, the typical Windows developer has produced one thousand new lines of shipped code per year during Vista.


5000 lines per year is mentioned as a joke...

Re:Summary == Wrong (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538977)

5000 lines per year is mentioned as a joke...

I find this amazing. I produced 3500 lines of developer-tested code in a month, followed with a month of QA. This was in C - no .NET, no easy exception handling. Memory management, linked lists.. and this wasnt badly written code either. It was properly abstracted - have of it went into a shared object, the other half was customizations to other packages to reference that package.

And I'm a fucking systems engineer. I'm not a programmer, I didn't go to university, I'm not paid like a programmer, and I don't want to be a programmer.

I would think 5000 lines in a year would be about a fifth of what a developer should be producing - of real, proper code.

Lines of code may not be the best metric, but speaking so generically, what do you think? I think if I were a programmer, doing programming all day every day as a primary line of work.... that 5000 lines of code in a six week period should be a breaze.

Why it REALLY slipped: (1)

Goodgerster (904325) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538821)

"C'mon guys, we can get Inode in there if we work hard!"

Is it really delayed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538824)

Is Vista being delayed, or were previous release estimates put out just to dissuade people from going for the alternatives? "Well, you could get a new Mac with OS 10.n but the next version of Windows will be out soon." (Replace 'n' for any number between 0 and 4).

Longest software project in history? (4, Funny)

MacBrave (247640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538832)

From the blog:


The largest software project in mankind's history now threatens to also be the longest.


Nah, that would be Duke Nukem Forever........

Re:Longest software project in history? (2, Funny)

Cheeze (12756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538857)

At least they didn't name it Duke Nukem Eventually.

The "forever" part gives you a timeline.

Re:Longest software project in history? (1)

ahsile (187881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538863)

Very well put, sir! Huzzah!

In bad shape (1)

JohnWiney (656829) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538833)

"So Windows is in bad shape - but only by a constant, not by an order of magnitude."

Can someone explain the difference between "bad shape by a constant" and "bad shape by an order of magnitude"?

Re:In bad shape (1)

Nicodemus101 (960204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538882)

"bad shape by a constant"
Its constantly in bad shape. Never gotten any better and will never get better.

"bad shape by an order of magnitude"
it certainly not getting any worse!! So can't be by any magnitude. I.E bad X 2

Re:In bad shape (1)

simonsen77 (960018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538919)

They're mathematical terms. So, let's Vista's current state is represented by some kind of number, say number of bugs left to fix. If the world generally perceives this number to be X, the author's saying that the actual state of Vista is not simply off by a constant (i.e., c*X, where c is some constant) but that X is off by an order of magnitude (i.e., X*10 [this also assumes a "bad shape" is represented by a larger X]). So, "by a constant" - multiply by a fixed number "order of magnitude" - ten times larger or smaller Obviously, if your constant is greater than 10, being off by a constant is worse, making this a poorly worded sentence by the author.

Re:In bad shape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538972)

No, 10 is constant. An order of magnitude would be X^b compared to c*X.

Complexity rises exponentially (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538842)

The people who estimate schedules always assume it's linear based on the last schedule both on lines of code and on number of programmers (the mythical man month). That's why keeping it simple is so important. But since they measure productivity by lines of code written, people who contributed the most to the problem get promoted so they can more effectively worsen things. You think someone who follows the KISS rule and writes as little code as is necessary will ever get promoted to a design slot?

Awful. (1, Offtopic)

Diordna (815458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538848)

That post had the worst grammar I've ever seen in a Slashdot news item.

On another note, the article makes some valid points, but nothing we haven't heard before.

5,000 lines per year? (4, Informative)

Sowilo (970468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538860)

Philip tells us in the blog, that Windows developers are writing on average of 5000 lines of code (which is *only* 1200 lines less than the national average of 6200 lines of code per year).
No, actually, he doesn't tell us that at all. From TFA:
... those quick on the draw with calculators will discover that, on average, the typical Windows developer has produced one thousand new lines of shipped code per year during Vista. Only a thousand lines a year. ... Lest those of you who wrote 5,000 lines of code last weekend pass a kidney stone at the thought of Windows developers writing only a thousand lines of code a year, realize that the average software developer in the US only produces around (brace yourself) 6200 lines a year.
Rather than the paltry "1200 line" decrease suggested by the writeup, what we actually have is a 5000 line decrease, and the MS developers are on average each producing less than 17% of the national average. Most of this is probably due to various factors of bureaucratic bloat and Windows bloat in general, but if I had a company full of workers whose pace was less than 20% of the national average, I'd be gravely concerned. Of course, it'd almost be fine if that 20% was QUALITY code, but, well... Consider the source. Reviewing its history, I somehow doubt that Windows code is in any way "bug-free" or "easily maintainable"...

Complicated Code? (1)

Venkata Prasad (874420) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538861)

... thats a managers way of putting their mistakes in words. Managers always say that the code id complicated when talking to the outside world... when it comes to talking to the workers, its always simple code! Moreover, by the time they finish developing it, they would find Linux or OS X better, and probably redefine their requirements, thus taking another year and so goes the vicious circle.

Renamed (1, Redundant)

BenBenBen (249969) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538867)

I thought they changed the name to 'OSX Forever'?

Just to much (-1, Offtopic)

i'mthejuggernaut (982676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538872)

I'm just to pissed about this two write too more words about it.

largest software project in mankind's history (5, Insightful)

Zobeid (314469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538874)

How in the world did Vista ever become the "largest software project in mankind's history"? I mean, this is an operating system. This is just an OS for a microcomputer, for pity's sake! It's not running the Internation Space Station. It's not running a nuclear aircraft carrier. It's just supposed to manage a personal computer.

This shouldn't be so hard. It shouldn't be so big, or so complicated. I know we expect our computers to do a lot these days, but still. . . Shouldn't application software do most of the heavy lifting anyhow? I'm just trying to figure out why it takes hundreds of megabytes of OS -- and fifty levels of dependencies, according to the article -- to manage a desktop computer and provide APIs.

Re:largest software project in mankind's history (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538913)

Well, prior to Windows 3.x, the application software did everything - graphics drivers, printer drivers, etc etc etc.

Windows provided a common layer for all those non-application things, and app developers were free from having to test their apps agaoinst a myriad of printers (dot matrix, daisy wheel, and the occaisional laser). Back then, WP and Lotus were most popular, partially because they had the largest set of display drivers, and if they didn't, the hardware manufacturers were stupid if they didn't send them with their hardware.

But now Microsoft, needing "growth", can only really seem to find it in itself. Instead of developing an OS to really facilitate 3rd parties, because it sees all those third parties as competitors rather than partners, it slowly starts to squeeze them out and calls it "innovation".

It goes wayyyy back, to TrueType vs Postscript, OpenDoc vs OLE... Too much "NIH" mentality at Microsoft.

Re:largest software project in mankind's history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538944)

Well, they do use windows for things like aircraft carriers and submarines, so it does need to have a bit of stability.

Guide to writing profound-sounding posts (0, Offtopic)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538881)

If you mix your text with bolded words it will sound more profound. Bolded words can make anyone seem like a real professional. Besides, bolded words are the new Microsoft standard of writing blog-posts

Re:Guide to writing profound-sounding posts (0, Offtopic)

Shadow Of The Sun (951477) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538966)

Or perhaps it will sound as though it was written by William Shatner.

Grammer nazi says... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538888)

USE THE DICTIONARY!!!

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/to [reference.com]

"to Audio pronunciation of "to" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (t; t when unstressed)
prep.

      1.
                  1. In a direction toward so as to reach: went to the city.
                  2. Towards: turned to me.
      2.
                  1. Reaching as far as: The ocean water was clear all the way to the bottom.
                  2. To the extent or degree of: loved him to distraction.
                  3. With the resultant condition of: nursed her back to health.
      3. Toward a given state: helping minority women to economic equality.
      4. In contact with; against: their faces pressed to the windows.
      5. In front of: stood face to face.
      6. Used to indicate appropriation or possession: looked for the top to the jar.
      7. Concerning; regarding: waiting for an answer to my letter.
      8. In a particular relationship with: The brook runs parallel to the road.
      9. As an accompaniment or a complement of: danced to the tune.
    10. Composing; constituting: two cups to a pint.
    11. In accord with: job responsibilities suited to her abilities.
    12. As compared with: a book superior to his others.
    13.
                  1. Before: The time is ten to five.
                  2. Up till; until: worked from nine to five.
    14.
                  1. For the purpose of: went out to lunch.
                  2. In honor of: a toast to the queen.
    15.
                  1. Used before a verb to indicate the infinitive: I'd like to go.
                  2. Used alone when the infinitive is understood: Go if you want to.
    16.
                  1. Used to indicate the relationship of a verb with its complement: refer to a dictionary; refer me to a dictionary.
                  2. Used with a reflexive pronoun to indicate exclusivity or separateness: had the plane to ourselves.

adv.

      1. In one direction; toward a person or thing: owls with feathers wrong end to.
      2. Into a shut or closed position: pushed the door to.
      3. Into a state of consciousness: The patient came to.
      4. Into a state of action or attentiveness: sat down for lunch and fell to.
      5. Nautical. Into the wind."

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/too [reference.com]

"too Audio pronunciation of "too" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (t)
adv.

      1. In addition; also: He's coming along too.
      2. More than enough; excessively: She worries too much.
      3. To a regrettable degree: My error was all too apparent.
      4. Very; extremely; immensely: He's only too willing to be of service.
      5. Informal. Indeed; so: You will too do it!"

Hmmm... (5, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538898)

He said:

The types of software management issues being dealt with by Windows leaders are hard problems, problems that no other company has solved successfully.

Nobody else has solved the problems? How is it that OSX, which contains many of the features that Vista is due to have, shipped years ago? Before the Microsoft fanboys start with "Ah but it's different...", I think Microsoft is guilty of making their own problems... Perhaps some problems shouldn't be solved in software, but should be solved at the level of how your company works.

Re:Hmmm... (4, Insightful)

zoomba (227393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538983)

I'm a Mac user, got a great powerbook running 10.4, but I have to jump in on this point to point out the differences between OS X and Vista in terms of complexity and development time.

1. OSX was based on the FreeBSD kernel and leveraged a LOT of UNIX structure under the covers. Lift the GUI off of OSX and you essentially have a BSD box. This means, for Apple, a lot of the engineering had already been completed. They were just adding in their own layers of stuff. Vista on the otherhand is supposedly a near-completely rewrite from the NT kernel OSs (NT, 2k, XP). That's a massive difference in work effort involved.

2. Vista has to run on a near infinite combination of hardware. OS X has to work on a very controlled set. This alone will make coding and testing a hellish experience. Add in the complete rework of how the desktop works (it's 3d now), the revamping of DirectX, and a pretty significant change to the security model and networking code and you're looking at some insane complexity that has to be tested.

Personally, I think that MS bit off way more than it could chew with Vista. They shot for the moon when in reality they should have been happy with breaking Earth orbit. If you look at the evolution of MacOS, you'll see many iterative improvements every 18 or so months. It kept the OS fresh, added features at a reasonable pace for both developers and users, and didn't get sucked into development hell. OS X has taken this approach with it's point releases every year or so. OS X, while a huge shift from OS 9, wasn't on the same scale as the Vista shift is for Microsoft.

Oh, and Slashdot gets mentioned too ;-). (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538906)

Well of course we do. We've been telling them what they're doing wrong for years!

Minor Mismanagement of Manpower? (2, Funny)

Lectrik (180902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538909)

From the summary:
All in all it gives a nice insight into why Vista will be late, from a different perspective. Oh, and Slashdot gets mentioned too;-).


So they admit that Vista is late because their programmers were too busy bashing the PS3, reading TFA and generating FUD on slashdot?
Realy people, I'd expect management to delegate that to the suits in PR or Marketing

In summary (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538910)

It takes time to rip out all the interesting features so that your coders can devote more effort to making sure the DRM is rock solid. But when you are building an entire OS around a feature nobody actually wants, you might as well take your time and do it right.

(I'm not an anti-windows fanboy, Server 2003 is quite a nice OS)

Finkployd

Re:In summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538976)

Isn't server 2003 just XP rebadged?

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538916)

From TFA:
Admittedly, this essay would be easier written for Slashdot, where taut lines divide the world crisply into black and white. "Vista is a bloated piece of crap," my furry little penguin would opine, "written by the bumbling serfs of an evil capitalistic megalomaniac." But that'd be dead wrong. The truth is far more nuanced than that. Deeper than that. More subtle than that.

So it wouldn't be dead wrong just lack the nuance of the authors explainations? In other words, Vista is a bloated piece of crap, written by the bumbling serfs of an evil capitalistic megalomaniac. I'm glad to have this confirmed by an ex-staffer, I wonder if MSFT will use that wonderful quote in their marketing?

The REAL question...will anyone buy it... (1, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538924)

Other than people who get stuck with Vista on a new PC purchase, who is going to buy copies of this? I can't imagine another painful cycle of OS upgrading just to get what I feel is essentially eye candy that likely won't even work on the 12-18 month old hardware at our office.

It will be interesting to see how successful Microsoft is in pitching this "upgrade" to enterprise customers with thousands or tens of thousands of seats.

Vista is to Nuclear Fusion, as... (1)

us7892 (655683) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538933)

"Windows Gone Thermonuclear, a phenomenon by which process engenders further process eventually becoming a self-sustaining buzz of fervent destructive activity."

Well, the wikipedia Nuclear Fusion page explains the process of Vista quite well, and it all end in a Bomb.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermonuclear [wikipedia.org]

You have *got* to be Kidding, Part III (1, Insightful)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 8 years ago | (#15538934)

From TFA:

Lest those of you who wrote 5,000 lines of code last weekend pass a kidney stone at the thought of Windows developers writing only a thousand lines of code a year, realize that the average software developer in the US only produces around (brace yourself) 6200 lines a year. So Windows is in bad shape - but only by a constant, not by an order of magnitude.

So - windows programmers write 1/6th of the code that other programmers do, and they wonder why they're behind? D'oh!

Also from TFA:

Vista is said to have over 50 million lines of code, whereas XP was said to have around 40 million.

It's a frigging operatiing system, for god's sake. Just for comparison purposes, does anybody have any (reasonable) numbers for LOC in both Linux and X Windows? Mac OS/X? I'm guessing there there's just a wee bit of bloat in there.

And worst of all, there's the 50 dependency levels that were mentioned. WTF are they doing - writing the bloody thing in GWBASIC, line numbers and everything?

The REAL reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538982)

It should be obvious to everyone that Vista is a bloated piece of crap, written by the bumbling serfs of an evil capitalistic megalomaniac.

Why proprietary software sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538987)

from the article:
They knew months in advance that the schedule would never work. So they told their VP. And he... summarily sent the managers back to "figure out how to make it work." The managers re-estimated, nipped and tucked, liposuctioned, did everything short of a lobotomy - and still did not have a schedule that fit. The VP was not pleased. "You're smart people. Find a way!" This went back and forth for weeks, whereupon the intrepid managers finally understood how to get past the dilemma. They simply stopped telling the truth. "Sure, everything fits. We cut and cut, and here we are. Vista by August or bust. You got it, boss."

Sure, there will be a lot of suggestions about how this mind-set can be averted, but this paragraph points to central problems with corporate structure itself! Don't kid yourself, it doesn't just exist in software companies, either.

also from the article:
There are too many cooks in the kitchen. Too many vice presidents, in reporting structures too narrow. ...a total path depth of 11 people from Bill Gates down to any developer on my team. ...some decisions are made freely while others are made by edict, with no apparent logic separating each from the other but the seeming curiosity of someone in charge.

This is not design; this is tinkering, "cut-to-suit, beat-to-fit, paint-to-match" on a grand scale. Is it any wonder that the end result is poorly done, way too expensive and late on top of it all? "Good, cheap or fast"; you can't get any of the three this way! And, again, don't kid yourself, this situation doesn't just exist in software companies, either.

"Biggest" software project in "history" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15538988)

The author seems to like emphasizing the fact that Vista is the biggest "software" project in "history". Well, maybe in Microsoft's history. But having worked in industry for several years, I can assure you that there are other projects which exist that require significant amounts of highly complex and non-trivial code.

One very pertinent example, from an area in which I've worked, is the design of a semiconductor. (In this case, specifically, an FPGA.) Do you realize how many lines of software are necessary to make a complex semiconductor work? From the VHDL code, to the software support tools for the device (in the case of FPGAs, this includes compilers, synthesizers, tech mappers, placers, routers, timing analyzers, etc.), to the code to operate the test beds, etc.

Egads. This blog author has no idea. I'd wager that he suffers somewhat from Microsoft's "I'm bigger/better than you" syndrome -- he's like to think that Vista is breaking new ground in terms of size and project management, but he's a few years late.
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